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Asthma Health Center

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Holiday Asthma Triggers for Kids

Asthma Triggers: The Culprits are Fido and Fluffy -

Giving your child a puppy or kitten for Christmas sounds like an enchanting idea, but don’t forget that that adorable little bundle is covered in dander--a common asthma trigger.

“Parents get their kids a new dog for Christmas, when they don’t know if the kids are allergic or not,” says Honsinger, who is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of New Mexico. “It’s a time of year when its cold, so pets are indoors more often than not, so their dander is inside as well and we see an influx of pet allergies and asthma symptoms.”

If your child has asthma, eczema or other allergies, it’s probably a good idea to have him or her skin-tested for animal allergies--before you start picking out puppy names.

Asthma Triggers: Oh, Christmas Tree

While a tree in and of itself might not trigger an asthma attack, what’s on it certainly could.

“Christmas trees usually have leftover mold on them, or pollen, and many people with asthma have an increased difficulty breathing when you bring a live tree in the house and you warm it up,” says Honsinger.

And then there are the decorations--the dusty, dirty decorations that have been sitting in the basement for 11 months.

“People get all their ornaments out of their basements and closets and they’re covered in dust,” Honsinger tells WebMD.

The Christmas tree all lit up with warm lights and decorated with old bulbs is a perfect recipe for asthma trouble in kids, so wipe it down with a damp cloth before you set it up in the middle of your living room to remove outdoor allergens. Before you drag your holiday storage containers out of the basement, give them a good dusting so they’re free of mites, pest droppings and other unpleasant holiday treats, and wash decorations before you put them on the tree.

Asthma Triggers: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

While it sounds like a nice place for your child to cozy up after a big holiday feast, fireplaces can trigger asthma.

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